Classroom Activity

Martha's True Stories: Super Inventions

Overview

Students read the interactive, informational text “Super Inventions,” which explores how the special abilities of animals have inspired inventions that help us. Using the special features of the Martha’s True Stories texts, students learn words about inventions. In pairs, they pick a favorite animal and brainstorm an invention that the animal could inspire. They draw a picture or write a description of the invention and explain it to the class.

Standards

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

  • Key Ideas and Details:
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.1
    With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.2
    With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
  • Craft and Structure:
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.4
    With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.7
    With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.4
    Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.4.A
    Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.5
    With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.5.C
    Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy).
    CSSS.ELA-LITERACY L.1.6
    Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Lesson Objectives

  • To learn new content-specific vocabulary words about inventions inspired by animals.
  • To use creative thinking to devise a plan for a new invention inspired by an animal.

Literature Suggestions

  • An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors
    by Kremena Spengler
  • Incredible Inventions
    by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
    by Gene Barietta
  • So You Want to Be An Inventor?
    by Judith St. George
  • The Most Magnificent Thing
    by Ashley Spires

Materials

Lesson Description

  1. “Walk” through the interactive text with students. For students who are less familiar with computers, explain how to use features such as the forward and back arrows, how to click on highlighted words to get definitions, and how to turn the narration on and off.
  2. Working in pairs, have students read “Super Inventions.” Depending on their reading level, they can listen to the story with sound or take turns reading it aloud to each other. They can have fun clicking on the animated features.
  3. Be sure that students click on the highlighted words to hear or read the definition. (See Vocabulary Words, below.)
  4. Check for understanding of the highlighted words and the following: superhero, superpowers, amazing, impossible, bandages, camouflage, webbed, mimicked, vision. Post the vocabulary words on a Word Wall. Encourage students to use as many of the words as possible as they talk about the story and do the activity.
  5. As a class, discuss the story. Ask: What was the story about it? Ask the class to name some “superheroes.” Ask: What is a superpower? What are some superpowers that superheroes have? Which superpower would you like to have? Why?
  6. Help students recall the different animals, the “superpower” they had, and the inventions that they inspired. (If you have assembled some of the inventions, share them with students.) Make a list on the chalkboard or whiteboard.
  7. Divide the class into pairs. Have students take turns telling their partners about their favorite animal and why they like it. Have students draw a picture of the animal and share it with the class. Encourage discussion about the animals and their characteristics.
  8. Revisit the list of animals from the story and the inventions they inspired. Ask, What could we copy about the animal that you have chosen? How can the animal inspire you to create a new invention? Reassemble the pairs and have them chose one of the animals. Have partners brainstorm a concept for a new invention. (It can be fanciful or practical.) They can draw a picture of it or write a description of it.
  9. Have the partner pairs explain their ideas to the class. Are any of them similar? Congratulate students on their original ideas!

Vocabulary List

  • concept: A concept means an idea.
  • copy: When you copy someone or something, you do things the same way as they do them.
  • create: When you create something, you make it.
  • discovery: When you discover something, you find something for the first time.
  • explains: If you explain something, you talk about it in a way that is easy to understand
  • inspire: When something inspires you, it makes you think of something or gives you an idea.
  • mimic: When you mimic someone, you do something in the same way they do it.
  • original: Original means the first or earliest of something.
  • similar: When things are similar, they are like each other, but not exactly the same.

Teacher Tip

Students may find brainstorming a completely new invention challenging. Circulate throughout the class and help pairs that have reached an impasse by guiding their conversation, offering ideas, and praising their efforts.

Extension Ideas

Have students view the related MARTHA SPEAKS video, “Itchy Martha,” or interactive texts, “How to Be an Inventor” and “T.D. Reports.” In teams, students can find out more about a specific invention or inventor and share their knowledge with the class. You can also hold a “Pick-an-Invention Week” in which you focus on a different invention each day and explore its history, uses, and inventor(s). Be sure to include a diverse range of inventors. If feasible, choose one of the students’ ideas and create a model of it!



© 2015 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. “Martha” and all characters and underlying materials (including artwork) from the “Martha” books are trademarks of and copyrights of Susan Meddaugh and used under license. All other characters and underlying materials are trademarks of and copyrights of WGBH. All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Used with permission.

Corporate funding for MARTHA SPEAKS is provided by Chuck E. Cheese’s®. Additional series funding is provided by the WGBH Children’s Educational Media Fund including The Germeshausen Foundation and by public television viewers.